This is the time of year when we as parents start to question why we signed up our young child for soccer, art class, skating or any other activity. These activities can be loads of fun. However, we never would have anticipated dragging our child kicking and screaming or pulling along a sad whimpering child complaining how they do not like what they have picked. It’s hard enough managing the schedule but then to feel like you are forcing your child to run around on the soccer field is when we become totally overwhelmed.
First, let’s think of why we are doing these activities. We want our child to learn a sport or skill, their friends are doing it, our children have asked us to be part of the fun or isn’t that what parents are supposed to do. All of these reasons make sense and come from a place of wanting the absolute best for our child. Now that we are in this mess how should we proceed?
If your child has signed up for a team or a series of classes it is in their best interest they stick with their commitment. This can mean many things. They may sit on the sidelines or you may even sit in the class with them. For each child, life is full of a series of steppingstones. Your child needs these first stones to make it to the next one. Be patient. Accept that your child’s temperament plays an important role when starting new things. Yes, bring them crying and be neutral about what they actually do in the activity. The more you become upset and wordy the longer these reactions will be. As parents our responses can make or break a tough time.
Also, use the coach or teacher to encourage and support your child. This may take a phone call before the activity (talking about your child’s difficulties in front of them will make it worse). Make a photo book of the activity and positively talk about it. Have fun at home with the same activity to help build your child’s comfort level. Remember, no pressure, no expectations. At a young age these activities are for fun and experience at any level.